The Universe, and more importantly Earth, has been saved – first from the Builders and then from Thanos and his minions. However, this being the Marvel Universe nowhere is ever really safe for long (the comics just wouldn't be that interesting).
There's still the “Incursions” to deal with, remember those? When an alternate Earth enters the Universe of another Earth and you have eight hours to destroy one of the Earths or else both Universes are destroyed. An Incursion was responsible for the death of Hyperion's world, as told in Avengers (Vol.5) #4. Oh yeah and Incursions are what the New Avengers have been trying to deal with since their reboot, which is why they created all those nasty weapons that Thanos was so interested in Infinity #6.
This issue starts at the Baxter Buildings in 3030 AD. An “Iron Man” (who is also addressed as both Stark and Rhodey) is powering up a machine and planning on a trip. Franklin Richards turns up seemingly to prevent this trip, but ultimately happily lets the Iron Man leave.
Back in the current time at Avengers Tower, the Avengers are having a celebratory party on the roof – seems fair enough, they did save the Universe. Thor is barbecuing an assortment of goods for everyone and Hulk has made some pies especially for Captain Universe! The only people missing are Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. They are inside tinkering with the Avengers roster. Steve says the Wolverine is on too many teams so is off the roster. He also debates removing Spider-Man due to his recent erratic behaviour, but stops short of actually doing so. Nightmask and Starbrand he wants to keep, but isn't sure of Ex Nihilo and another (he is cut off by Tony before he says but it makes sense that it's Abyss). Tony thinks that Steve is too set on the original formula of a roster of 24 but that may not be enough, it may just be the beginning. Steve doesn't understand Tony's negativity, they have just saved the Universe – why so down? Just then Iron Man 3030 appears and tries to assess whether this is the right place. Scanning Tony and getting him to confirm the current date of December 2013 seems to calm Iron Man 3030.
Iron Man 3030, explains the reason behind the trip back from the future. A rogue planet is on travelling through space in a straight line heading for the Earth. Hawkeye points out that a straight line indicates an ordered trajectory, which indicates a target, which indicates a shooter. Bruce Banner is amazed at the complexity of this scheme as if this planet was fired at the Earth than it would have been done so thousands, if not millions, of years ago and the mathematics involved are immense. Tony points out that the planet may not have been sent from the past and Iron Man 3030 (sort of) confirms this notion.
The Avengers head to Mars to build a machine in the Ex Nihilo's Garden to stop the rogue planet. Building on Mars gives them resources on a planetary scale and a little privacy. Captains Marvel and America are concerned about time paradoxes, that if they stop the planet won't that mean Iron Man 3030 has no reason to come back in time, so they'll be no warning, so they won't be able to stop the planet, but Bruce tells them that's not how it works! Meanwhile the two Iron Men talk, and Tony thinks that's Iron Man 3030 may not be a man at all, perhaps an artificial intelligence. Iron Man 3030 just admits to being smarter than Tony!
A few days later and the machine is ready. Manifold teleports it into orbits so Hulk can punch it towards the rogue planet, which Starbrand has prepared by melting a hole into it. The machine is successfully embedded and puts the rogue planet out of phase. The planet then merges with the Earth saving both in the process.
Later, Tony is talking to Iron Man 3030, he now thinks there is a man inside the suit. Iron Man 3030 reveals herself to be his granddaughter, Rhodey Stark. She explains that in the original timeline the Avengers destroyed the rogue planet, but sparing it and incorporating it into the Earth will be more useful. It will provide the Earth with energy and resources, and later still it will have another use. She says see has given Tony a weapon far greater than the anti-matter bombs that the Illuminati have been secretly building, because pretty soon everyone he knows will be trying to kill him...
Well after wrapping up the Builders storyline, Hickman now has to start the up the latest plot for the Avengers to deal with. As it is the start of a new storyline, it also gives Marvel a chance to put another one of those annoying #1s on the front of the comic (even though this is issue 24 and not another reboot). Clearly the appeal of buying a #1 works or they wouldn't keep doing it, I just find it a little annoying as they are all too often, especially when somewhere down the line they calculate it would be the 300th issue of a comic and so renumber it again to commemorate the occasion. Making every comic a #1 or an anniversary edition takes away its appeal for me a little, but then I buy the comics because I want to read them not just so I can have a collectible in the years to come, so to each their own!
Anyway back to the story, it's an interesting enough one. Someone or something has fired a planet towards the Earth and the Avengers need to stop it. Easy, they just destroy it, right? I mean they have Thor, Hyperion, Smasher and Captain Universe – between those it should be a piece of cake. And that's apparently what they would have done in the original timeline, but then Iron Man 3030 turns up and alters things. I'm going to assume she has left the Avengers with a spare planet so that they can destroy it in Earth's place if an Incursion occurs, but who knows what may happen. The story was a nice idea and sets up a few possibilities, especially with Iron Man 3030's warning to Tony that everyone will soon be after him. Reminded me a little of Avengers (Vol.4) #6 (Story 1) with Iron Man given a weapon and a warning from the future. That story line took years to pick up with the Age of Ultron event, so who knows how long it will take before the rogue planet is followed up. Presumably, if this comic is Rogue Planet #1, the next issue will follow on and be #2 else the whole numbering scheme is pointless and Marvel really just want to put a #1 on the front for no real reason other than it being a #1!
I did have a few issues with this comic. I was slightly confused as to why Tony Stark's granddaughter was from the year 3030. Most grandchildren are 50 – 60 years younger then their grandfather, but here there is 1000 years difference. Seems a little odd. Obviously time travel is involved here so there is nothing to say that Rhodey Stark didn't go to the future and then came back again, after all Franklin Richards appears to be with her too and he's a child in our current timeline. It just seems a little strange to invent a character from 60 ish years in the future but have her 1000 years in the future! Why make her a granddaughter and not just a distant descendant? Maybe later issues will give us a reason. I also thought that Avengers celebratory party was a bit weird. Not the party itself, great idea, but there seems to be hundreds of guests there. Who are these guys? No one we know as they have been drawn pretty featureless (looked a little like the chameleon to me actually). Would Earth's Mightiest Heroes really have an open invite to their HQ for a party? (Well maybe Tony actually!) Also, there a slightly misleading front cover as it features Wolverine. Not only is he not in the comic but he is also thrown off the team! That's going to be annoying for any Wolverine fans that have picked this comic up hoping to see him! Spidey's Avengers fate also seems up in the air at the moment – certainly whilst he is being all Superior. Spider-Man does not appear on the team line up page (neither do Wolverine, Ex Nihilo or Abyss) so read from that what you will.
It's interesting how Hickman is now moving the Incursion storyline into the main Avengers comics having used it in the past year of New Avengers, which he also writes. No doubt more overlapping between the titles will soon occur. Incursions have happened in the main Avengers comics before, it's how Hyperion got into the standard Marvel Universe. Also I'm not sure how linked Incursions are to the whole “Universe being broken” stuff from the past year, so that may be another connection. Maybe this will also be addressed as the story progresses. Time will tell.
Finally the art, it's a bit hit and miss in my opinion, but then that's what happens when you have four different artists on one book. It's always a shame when you have that inconsistency in a book but I suppose these things happen when deadlines are tight. I don't like it though when a character is drawn in many different ways in the same book.
It's a nice enough issue, the rogue planet itself was fairly easily dealt with, so all that set up was quickly addressed. Who sent it and why, that's perhaps what the real set up is.